The Government has changed its strategy in the poverty alleviation drive, this time introducing a new SACCO based parish model which will do away with all the existing social economic empowerment programmes into one fund.
The new model continues to spark debate and many have referred to it as another duplication, questioning its uniqueness and what other programmes missed that it will improve on.
According to the State Minister for Micro Finance Haruna Kasolo, the existing poverty alleviation programmes have been scattered across ministries making it impossible to track their performance and the parish model comes to solve this.
“Funds have been scattered in so many ministries making it difficult to find a report concerning them, if you needed a report for the youth empowerment programme, you go to the Ministry of Gender, then if you want a report for Operation Wealth Creation, you go to the Ministry of Agriculture, this makes impact assessment difficult,” Kasolo said.
Kasolo said that despite the challenges they faced however, the existing programmes have also managed to lower the subsistence poverty line from 68% to 39% and now the new parish model will only reduce this further.
“We want to bring it to zero, that is why we have changed the approach so that these funds can be consolidated in one pool in every parish so that people who are into different economic activities can go and have access to cheap credit in that SACCO at the parish to finance their activities,” he said.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the Parish Development Model is a strategy that will organise and deliver public and private sector interventions for wealth creation and employment generation at the parish level as the economic planning unit.
According to the statement, the programme will see each of the 10,594 parishes get Shs 39 million in a revolving fund. The parish model, like the others before it is intended to lift Ugandans out of subsistence economy to the money economy, but this time around, new Parish Chiefs will be hired to manage the Fund.
Analysts weigh in
Analysts have however tagged the programmes to politics, saying that it are are not well thought and cannot do much to foster development.
Economist, Dr. Fred Muhumuza, in an interview with NBS Television said the the existing projects and the parish model programmes are not benchmarked to fight poverty and society remains vulnerable to the challenges.
“These programmes have not really come down to the ground to see what the problem is, but we quickly throw money to them, and for the last many years, they have not made any impact,” Muhumuza said.
BugirI Municipality MP, Asuman Basalirwa said that government should tell the country what the previous programmes have achieved before we move to a new project if it wants to build trust.
“The names keep changing but the programmes are the same. For example, we do not know how emyooga contributed to the social economic transformation of society. How entandikwa contributed to the same, each time government brings a new programme, it is important they tell the country the impact the old programme has had and why it is necessary to move to a new programme,” Basalirwa said.
The government had initially intended to spend over Shs 490 billion on this model but last month while appearing before the budget committee, the programme met resistance from Members of Parliament.
The MPs opposed the Shs. 490 billion funding on account that the government was diverting funds which were meant for other affirmative action programmes such as the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Program (UWEP) and others.
The model which starts next financial year will now be implemented with much less funds, as Finance Minister Matia Kasaija told journalists that they had agreed to slash over Shs. 290 billion shillings from the programmes budget.
The question is: Will it work or fail like other programmes?